Life-changing. Transformative. Inspiring. These were some of the words used by returning students, Stefan Hosein and Jason Renwick, to describe their experiences on NASA's International Internship (I2) Programme. Through NIHERST's partnership with NASA, Stefan Hosein and Jason Renwick were the first person s in the region to enter NASA's Internship I2 Programme.
At the formal launch of the 2015 programme held on March 8th 2015, the returning interns spoke of the research they undertook and of life in Silicon Valley. Renwick's work focussed on electronic prognostics in the Diagnostics and Prognostics Group, while Hosein worked with the Data Sciences Group of the Intelligent Systems Division, on machine learning and knowledge discovery in databases. Their research findings will be published and both interns will conduct public lectures on their respective topics in the coming months. As a testimony to their outstanding capabilities, both Renwick and Hosein have also been invited by their respective departments to return to the Ames Research Center, to continue their work. Both men praised the quality of the academic grounding they gained at home, and particularly at UWI, which prepared them well for the advanced work at NASA. Their performance has set the bar even higher for future applicants from Trinidad and Tobago.
Local interest in the programme has exploded since 2014, with numbers of applicants almost doubling for the 2015 cycle. Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Port of Spain, Mr. Stephen Weeks commended NIHERST for its efforts to support young people in the pursuit of studies in STEM fields, particularly through international collaboration with world-class institutions like NASA. Such exposure and training will redound to the benefit of the country, helping to build local capacity for innovation through research and development in science and technology.
The 2015 I2 programme is offering local students an even wider range of research opportunities than was previously available in the pilot 2014 programme. The internship programme provides a unique exchange opportunity, encouraging collaboration among US and international students, enhancing students' knowledge of STEM, developing their skills in dynamic new areas of research, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and enabling future multinational missions and collaborations in science.